Thursday, 28 February 2013

Sede Vacante

O Lord, with suppliant humility we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou woudst grant the most holy Roman Church a pontiff, who, hy his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may ever be honoured by Thy people for the glory of Thy Name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect from the Missa Pro Eligendo Summo Pontifice (Usus Antiquior) 

Thank You, Holy Father

As his pontificate draws to an end, let us pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, give thanks for all he has done for the Church, and ask God to grant him peace and health in the remaining years of his life.

Arms of Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, 25 February 2013

Sorrowful Mysteries 6 - The Crucifixion

Having carried His Cross, stumbling under its weight and eventually requiring assistance, we now come to the final stage of the life of the Man of Sorrows.
Before the still-jeering crowds, He suffers one more indignity as He is stripped of His garments, which are then gambled for by His executioners. This act also adds to His physical pain, reopening the wounds of the scourging. Now He is lain upon His Cross, and iron nails are driven through His hands and feet, and He is then lifted into the position in which He will suffer to death. From this point on, every movement, every breath, is a labour and a source of exquisite pain. This is Christ in all of His humanity. Now His divinity seems so far from Him that even He calls out "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me".
By now, nearly all of His apostles are absent from the scene, driven away by fear that they, too, might suffer a grisly fate. Only three figures remain at the foot of the Cross: His Blessed Mother, who years previously had accepted Him and all He would bring her when she said, "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord"; His beloved Apostle John, to whose care He now commends her; and Mary Magdalene, the former 'good time girl' who found in Him true goodness and joy which she never attained from her life of profligate sexuality.
We need, perhaps to reflect on these three figures when we take stock of our own lives in this season of Lent. Are we, like Our Lady, ever faithful, even when following Our Lord brings us suffering? Are we, like John, able to accept the love of God, and, in turn extend that love to others? Do we, like Mary Magadalene, realise that fleshy and worldly pleasures are false, transient and unfulfilling, and renounce them for Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especailly those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sorrowful Mysteries 5 - The Carrying of the Cross

Having suffered in mind, body and emotions, Our Lord now receives the burden of the Cross. It is probably not presumptious to wonder about the the thoughts and feelings that He experiences as he is forced to carry the very instrument upon which He will shortly be tortured to death. Here all the aspects of His suffering come together, He must again feel the fear of what is to come, take the weight of the rough wood upon the unhealed stripes on His back, and endure tthe further taunts of the crowd as He trudges the road to Calvary. It is little wonder then that He is described the 'Man of Sorrows' and hardly recogniseable as the leader fondly welcomed into Jerusalem a few days previously. As we shall see in the final Sorrowful Mystery, His humanity, with all the frailty and weakness of mankind shows to the fore, and overshadow His divinity in the sight of onlookers - His Godhead must feel far and remote.

As He walks towards His place of execution, He stumbles and falls several times; the help of a bystander is enlisted lest He die before He gets there; and yet, He continues to get up and walk again, inexorably towards His fate.

In the light of this scene, it is perhaps shocking to us that He demands that we, too, take up our crosses and suffer for His sake, stating that unless we do so we are unworthy of Him.

Crosses come to us in many forms: sickness, persecution, stress, bereavement, our own passions, sexuality and pride, our greed and envy, fuelled by the propaganda of the world, temptation to despair at the state of humanity... the list could go on and on. I recall Michael Voris remarking in his talk in London a couple of years back that the one prayer sure to be answered, and answered promptly is praying for a cross.

Having received our crosses we, like Jesus, tend to stumble and fall under the weight: we lapse back into sin despite our best intentions and the 'firm ourpose of amendment' we express when we confess; we easily fall back into complacency and fail to put our best efforts into confronting the challenges that we face in life.

We can, however, take comfort that Our Lord understands this - He has shared our humanity and knows its frailties. What he asks is not that we do not fall under the crosses we are sent, but rather that, like Him, we hold on to them, get up again and continue to walk towards the fate He has planned for us. In that way, just as His Resurrection followed His death, so will our ultimate salvation, joy and resurrection follow from our sufferings.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especailly those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Response from Teresa Pearce MP

Further to my recent post concerning my MP's decision to vote in favour of the redefinition of marriage, I have received a response. This would appear to be a slightly different version the same 'standard letter' as Mac of Mulier Fortis received some time ago, with much of the same wording.

The text is as follows, I have added my thoughts in red:

"Thank you for contacting me about gay marriage and the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill that recently took place in the House of Commons.
I understand that this is a sensitive and controversial matter, and one which has many people divided. Having considered this issue at length, I decided to vote in favour of gay marriage during a free vote that took place in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th February 2013. I made the decision for a number of reasons.
First, I appreciate that gay marriage and heterosexual marriage are different. However, I do not feel that this means gay people should be precluded from celebrating and consolidating their relationships in the same way as heterosexual people. This is a question of equality and fairness. [The old confusion of equality with identity] After all, no heterosexual marriage is the same.   Men and women are very different, and heterosexual relationships can vary considerably from one couple to the next. [So?] That a couple are of the same gender does not mean that their relationship is any less legitimate or any less worthy of public validation than those of opposite sex couples. Marriage can offer security and stability, and should not be something from which individuals should be excluded due to their sexual orientation.
People should be treated equally, both socially and legally, no matter what their age, gender, race, religion or sexuality. My initial view was that the creation of civil partnerships removed the inequalities relating to property and inheritance thet used to exist and therefore I was not convinced of the need to go that further step to gay marriage.
However, some very practical differences between civil patnerships and marriage were brought to my attention. For instance, under the current laws relating to pensions, immigration and powers of attorney, people in civil partnerships are not given the same rights as people who are married. [Surely this could be more easily addressed by amending the existing laws, rather than changing the whole definition of marriage.] Another point is that under the current rules people in civil partnerships cannot legally use terms such as 'wife', 'husband' or 'marriage'. Therefore by having to use terms associated with civil partnerships they are forced to reveal their sexual orientation, which they may not wish to or when it should be irrelevant. [I would think that a man talking about his 'husband' or a woman about her 'wife' would give the game away. Also, the people who would want to use such terms in this context tend to be those who are 'out' anyway, and if there is a question where sexual orientation is irrelevant, then surely this could be worded to avoid using any terms which relate to either marriage or civil partnership, or not asked at all]
So in my view either we have to reformthe law around civil partnerships to give equal status in law to the status of a married couple, or allow gay marriage. [surely the former option would be preferable than venturing into 'uncharted territory'] A marriage is of couse both a civil as well as a religious agreement. However, although I would support gay marriage as a civil agreement, I believe it is a matter for the Churches to decide in respect of the religious aspect of marriage, and not the Government. [As long as the European Court of Human Rights agrees with you]
Having considered all the arguements for and against gay marriage, I was of the opinion that, given the inadequacies inherent in the current laws relating to civil partnerships, the only conscionable course of action was to vote in favour of gay marriage.
However, note that following the vote the Marriage (Same Sex |Couples) Bill has not yet been enshrined in law. The Bill will now be considered by the Public Bills Committee before moving to report stage and receiving a third reading in the Commons. Only then will it pass to the House of Lords. If you wish to submit your views on the Bill to the Public Bill Committee you can do so here: [Needless to say, we will, but this does smack of 'passing the buck']
If I can be of any further assistance, please do let me know.

         Yours sincerely,
Teresa Pearce MP ,

Music for Lent - Attende Domine

Mozarabic Hymn from the 10th century.

R. Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi. R. Hearken, O Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned against Thee.
Ad te Rex summe, omnium redemptor, oculos nostros sublevamus flentes: exaudi, Christe, supplicantum preces. R. Crying, we raise our eyes to Thee, Sovereign King, Redeemer of all. Listen, Christ, to the pleas of the supplicant sinners. R.
Dextera Patris, lapis angularis, via salutis, ianua caelestis, ablue nostri maculas delicti. R. Thou art at the Right Hand of God the Father, the Keystone, the Way of salvation and Gate of Heaven, cleanse the stains of our sins. R.
Rogamus, Deus, tuam maiestatem: auribus sacris gemitus exaudi: crimina nostra placidus indulge. R. O God, we beseech Thy majesty to hear our groans; to forgive our sins. R.
Tibi fatemur crimina admissa: contrito corde pandimus occulta: tua Redemptor, pietas ignoscat. R. We confess to Thee our consented sins; we declare our hidden sins with contrite heart; in Thy mercy, O Redeemer, forgive them. R.
Innocens captus, nec repugnans ductus, testibus falsis pro impiis damnatus: quos redemisti, tu conserva, Christe. R. Thou wert captured, being innocent; brought about without resistance, condemned by impious men with false witnesses. O Christ keep safe those whom Thou hast redeemed. R.


Sorrowful Mysteries 4 - The Crowning with Thorns

Having been through experiences of mental suffering and physical brutality, Christ is now subjected to emotional bullying and humiliation. He had been handed overr to the Roman authorities on charges of being 'King of the Jews' (the charge which eventually appeared over his crucifix), which the Jewish powers knew would be interpreted as a His being a political rebel, and so lead quickly to His demise.

Faced by the Roman Prefect, Jesus had admitted His Kingship, and made explanation of it (John 18:36-37), His rather enigmatic statements that, "My Kingdom is not of this world", leading Pilate to want to release Him, who to his mind was presumably a harmless crank. Threatened by the possibility of a mob outside turning nasty, however, he had handed Our Lord over to His fate.

My grandfather used to say that "It's the easiest job in the world to find fault", and it is probably equally easy, having found a fault or weakness to ridicule this. We have already seen signs of this in the character in the picture that accompanied my post on the Scourging, who seems to avoid the issue by making some snide remark to his neighbour. Now we see the Roman soldiers, obviously in a collective mood of bravado and 'laddishness', moving to humiliate Our Lord completely, mocking all that He has done and said in the recent days.

This brings us to two thoughts:-

First, we need to consider any times that we have directly or indirectly humilated others. This may be through putting them down in front of others, or through snide and hurtful remarks, or, more subtly, by damaging their character and reputation through gossip and slander. We need to reflect on our own prejudices, and when examining our consciences, ask the question 'Do I hate people?'

The second thought comes from the opposite side. In this world where secularism, atheism and the hedonistic pursit of wealth and pleasure prevail, it is often a great challenge to stand up for our Faith and our Christian morals. If we do, we are liable to suffer ridicule and abuse. We need to recall that Our Lord has been there too. We need to remember that there have been, an still are, martyrs willing to die for the Faith (a fate to which, mercifully, few of us will actually be called), realise that what we have to endure is not that great, and learn to 'Offer it up' for the Glory of God.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especailly those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Venerable Fulton Sheen on Temptation

Following my recent post concerning the way in which the devil works, here are Bishop Sheen's thoughts on temptation.

Sorrowful Mysteries 3 - The Scourging at the Pillar

If the Agony in the Garden is Christ's experience of mental suffering, the Scourging at the Pillar is surely His taste of wanton physical violence and abuse.
The image I have chosen to illustrate this post is from Borguereau's painting 'The Flagellation of Christ'. It is interesting to look at the facial expressions of the characters in the picture. Christ's face, of course, shows physical agony; the soldiers carrying out the beating appear hardened and 'psyched up' to carry out this act; a phariseaic looking man on the extreme right looks to have an air of indignant righteousness ('Of course this man deserves what he is getting'); others look on with cynicism. Perhaps the two most poignant figures are the man in white, standing just behind Christ, and the small child in the background, being carried on the shoulders of their father. The former has his head turned to one side, and seems to be making some satirical comment to the person next to him: there is, however, a sense that he may be secretly avoiding looking at the scene before him, and attempting to mask this with some bravado. How often are we like this, turning a blind eye to suffering and violence, and masking our disgust with a hardening of heart? The latter is, perhaps, the most disturbing - is this really something you would want, even encourage, a child to see? I cannot help but think of the the many ways in which young people are today exposed to images of, and to actual, violence; of the gangs which are infecting some of our communities, of the torrent of unpleasent material that lurks in films, television, video games, and parts of the internet. I also think of the way that society seems to think it a good idea to expose children to information which they neither want nor need to know (I refer, of course, to some of the things done in the name of so-called 'sex  education').
The scourging at the pillar must also be a reminder that Christ has known what it is like to be the victim of other's brutality. This must, therefore be an occasion to pray for all those who suffer physically at the whim of others. Remember the victims of torture, of terrorism, and simply of violent crime. Here, also, I cannot neglect those who have suffered abuse at the hands of Clergy and Religious who have strayed from the ideals of their vocation. May God have mercy on all involved.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especailly those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Sorrowful Mysteries 2 - The Agony in the Garden


The Mystery of Our Lord's Agony in the Garden is His experience of mental and psychological suffering. He knows what He is about to go through, and, although He is God, at this point His humanity takes the upper hand, and He feels genuine fear and extreme anxiety. His mental anguish is so great that it spills over into the physical and He experiences a rare medical condition called hematidrosis, where blood exudes from the pores of His skin. This condition is documented as associeted with the most extreme of stress. Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, the apostles who have accompanied Him, not fully appreciating the situation, and probably tired and sated from the Passover meal they have eaten, fall asleep.

Living as we do in a world where the pace and complexity of life mean that every day is prone to stress and worry, a world where depression and mental illness seem to be on the increase, it is important for Christains to recall that Jesus did suffer these mental pains. It is also important to recall that, in spite of the agony, He chose to go on inexorably towards the fate that awaited Him, even though He prayed for deliverance from it.

It is interesting to compare this response to what we so often see among those with depression and other mental health issues. Jesus, depite knowing that He will rise again, still fears the death he will undergo, and the human instinct for self-preservation causes Him to pray, "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me'. He gives Himself voluntarily to death, but does not do so with any enthusiasm. How this contrasts with the behaviour of those who self-harm or tend towards suicide.

Despite what the popular media would have us believe, few people actually have to face the immanent prospect of a violent, brutal and protracted death. True, there are those who suffer the pains of terminal illness, but much is now done to make them more comfortable. It is good to know that Our Lord has been through this most extreme of experiences and triumphed over it. When we experience stress and mental suffering in our lives, this is very real and can seem catastrophic and hopeless. Recalling Our Lord's experiences in the garden of Gethsemane, can put this into perspective, and while not necessaritly making the pain any less real, can show us that we are not alone, and that hope is always there.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especailly those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sorrowful Mysteries 1

Dear Lady of the Rosary,
Red roses we lay down,
But let Thy fingers weave them
Into a worthy crown.
For how can we poor sinners
Do aught but weep with Thee,
When in thy Train we follow
Our God to Calvary.

In this season of Lent, it is appropriate to meditate on the Passion and sufferings of Our Lord, and to relate these to our own lives. With this in mind, I am planning a series of posts on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

I admit that I have never found the Rosary the easiest of prayers to say, perhaps because of the multiplicity of things going on (reciting the set prayers, meditating on the Mysteries and recalling the intentions for which you are offering the Rosary, as well as physically handling the beads all make it quite a challenge for someone who is not the best at multitasking). It is, however, a very worthwhile prayer, and provides a very valuable way of reflecting on the key events of the life of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Of all the parts of the Rosary, I find the Sorrowful Mysteries the easiest to relate to, perhaps because it is easy to recognise the experience of suffering, and perhaps also because they provide a source of support through the tough times in life, knowing that God Himself has been through all the forms of human suffering, and understand these.

How the Devil Works

I see from Protect the Pope that the Holy Father has used his penultimate Angelus Address to discuss the action of the devil on modern society.

In particular he talks of the rise of secularist agenda, and the way that temptations are directed at us 'in the guise of suitable, effective and even good proposals'. This is, of course, the favourite trick of the Father of Lies - present something with much positive 'spin', so that people follow with the best of intentions, hoodwinked into not realising that actually this is contrary to the Will of God, and contrary, ultimately, to their own best interests.

Original Sin stems from the temtation to 'be as gods, knowing both good and evil'. One can almost imagine the serpent's line being delivered in the style of a classical actor, with the words 'be as gods' shouted, 'knowing good' spoken, 'and evil', whispered almost as an aside. Of course we want to emulate God - we are created in His image, but is it really helpful to know about evil?

Similarly, in our own time, it can sound superficially good to regulate the size of families so that children don't grow up in poverty, until we ralise that the consequences are reduction of the body to a mere object of hedonism, or more sinisterly, having power over life and death. Is sounds superfically good to assist infertile couples to have babies, until we think of the child conceived in a loveless laboratory procedure, or all those 'spare' embryos that nobody mentions. It sounds supeficially good to allow two people who love each other to 'marry', until we think of the consequences for true marriage and the family.

Let us pay attention to Benedict's words in the last few days of his papacy, and let us pray for the virtue of prudence to judge what is truly good, and the strength to resist the allurements and empty promises of Satan.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Lenten Stations

Zephirinus is again blogging concerning the ancient devotion of Lenten Stations, which involves a pilgimage (actual or spiritual) around the various Stational Churches of Rome.

I recommend to you his excellent and informative posts, and, of course, the associated devotions.

Spot the Difference

Time for a little competition.

Can you spot the difference between these pairs of pictures?

...First some easy ones...

                      King David                                                                               Prime Minister David
                              Bishop Conry                                                        Bishop Egan
                              Edward Stourton                                                Damian Thompson

              A Catholic paper                                                                   'Nuff said                   
...These could be trickier...

                    St. Peter                                                                        Pope Benedict


               Pope Benedict                                                  Pope Benedict's Successor
  Pope Benedict's Successor                                                            St. Peter
And now for the really hard ones..

               In principio                                                                Nunc                                
                    Nunc                                                         In Saecula Saeculorum
...which is why the Church doesn't change what she teaches.

Teresa Pearce MP

I have just received an email from the Coalition for Marriage, informing me that the Rt. Hon. Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead (my local MP), voted in favour of the redefinition of marriage.

Ms Pearce failed to respond to emails and the 'Bishops Conference' postcard which I sent to her, and I note that the vote does not appear on her personal website.

Naturally, I feel upset at the apparent lack of consultation with her constituents, and apparent disregard for their opinions and beliefs, especially given the momentous potential consequences of this bill, and concerns as to its possible effects on religious freedom and the professional responsibilities of those in teaching and other professions.

Needless to say, it is highly unlikely that I will vote for Ms. Pearce in any future elections.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Magdalene Laundries put in context

Following the publication of the McAleese Report into Ireland's Magdalene Laundries, and subsequent apologies in the Dail for the Irish state's involvement, there has inevitably been yet another round of denigration of Catholic institutions by the popular media.

In a recent article in the Telegraph, Brendan O'Neill presents a balanced and fair account of the Magadalene Laundries, examining the actual findings, putting them into context, and including quotations from former Magdalenes whose ecperiences did not tally with the popular images of brutality and abuse, and who actually remember the Sisters with some affection. Thanks to Fr. Tim for drawing attention to the article, and for his own post on the subject.

When reading the article, I was reminded of part of the BBC series 'Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs' presented by Dr. Pamela Cox and broadcast last year. In one episode, shown in the video below, Dr. Cox refers to St. Faith's House of Mercy in Cornwall, run by an Anglican order, which was to all intents a Magadene Laundry. Please have a look at the sequence from 24.30 to 27.50. The historian being interviewed by Dr. Cox presents the actual philosophy behind these institutions and the reasons for the procedures within them. What is very telling is when she remarks that, "This all sound repressive, until you realise that the sisters did precisely the same themseleves", forgetting former lives, taking new names, wearing 'uniforms' and living under strict rules. Also interesting is the way that the presenters treat the topic as matter of fact and ,if anything, in a mildly positive light, in the context of the times in which it occurred.

As Brendan O'Neill suggests in his article, perhaps the biggest fault with the Irish Laundries, was that they deprived women of their freedom, with inmates often being sent for inappropriate and trivial reasons, to appease a sense of 'decency', and also that they continued to use the outmoded rules of the Victorian workhouse long after these had fallen out of use eleswhere.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Somewhat stunned

Still taking in the momentous news of Pope Benedict's resignation.

I did not feel ready to post on this last evening, and so am just writing a few quick lines before I have to leave for work.

Let us pray for the Holy Father, that God will bless him for his work, and grant him peace and many more years of life in his 'retirement' (is that the right term?).

Let us also pray for the action of the Holy Spirit as we move towards the Conclave. May he inspire the cardinals and give us a worthy successor to Benedict XVI.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Two Saints

Today is the feast day of two important saints. In the Extraordinary Form, we celebrate the feast of John de Matha, who, along with St. Felix de Valois was co-founder of the Trinitarian Order. I have discussed this in an earlier post

In the New Rite, we have the optional memoria of St. Josephine Bakhita. Born in Darfur in Sudan in 1869, Bakhita was captured and sold into slavery as a young child. The name 'Bakhita' was not the one her parents gave her, but a cynical one, translating as 'Fortunate', bestowed on her by her kidnappers when, through trauma, she was unable to remember what she was called. She passed through the hands of numerous owners, suffering horrendous violence and abuse, including a practice invoving a combination of tattooing and scarification. Eventually she was sold to an Italian merchant, and encountered Catholicism for the first time in his household. She converted, and was ultimately freed when the family returned to Europe, as slavery was illegal under Italian Law. She entered a Canossian convent in Venice, and joined the order, where she lived until 1947, and was popular, especially among the young, with whom she would share the story of her life, but speak of her abusers with charity. She was canonised in 2000.

.Let us commend to her prayers all who have been trafficked or forced into slavery or slave-like conditions, and all those, especially the young, who are victims of abuse.

Ora pro nobis.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Beautifully put

I have just seen the most eloquent comment in response to Protect the Pope's post concerning Chris Grayling's weaseling words about opponents to 'gay marriage' needing to be 'gently led through uncomfortable social change'.

Michael Petek says the following:-
"The purpose of marriage is to answer the right of every child to be born within the marriage of the natural parents. If it were not the case that children are conceived and born in the way they are, there would be no justification for marriage to exist as the institution it is." least some people get what marriage is about!

St Thomas More, pray for us

Thanks to Leutgeb for a timely reminder of St. Thomas More, patron of politicians and statesmen, martyred, of course, for remaining faithful to the Church's moral teachings when these were under attack from the political powers of the day.

Let us hope than he will inspire our MP's to exercise sound judgement tomorrow.

St Agatha

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, a saint of great importance and relevance to our own times in so many ways.

Born in Sicily, to a wealthy family, and apparently of considerable beauty, she deicated herself to God from an early age, and resisted the advances of suitors. One of these men, the Roman Prefect, Quintianus, and so a man of great power (and evident spite and vindictiveness) reacted to her rejection of him by having her imprisoned in a brothel. When this failed to break her resolve, he had her subjected to torture, which apparently involved her breasts being torn off (she is often depicted carrying these, or the instruments with which they were removed), and then her body being dragged over shards of broken pottery and over hot coals. She died of her injuries, ending her life with a prayer:-
"Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."
I recall that in the news over the last few months there have been a number of stories of women being murdered by vindictive men whom they have rejected, as well as many others being subjected to sexual humiliation and enslavement. I commend these to the prayers of St. Agatha.

Virgin martyrs like St. Agatha seem rather unpopular today - could it be because they highlight unpleasant things about ourselves and the society in which we live? Could it be that some people hate admitting that such saints actually possess the truth?

St. Agatha, pray for us.

As well as being the Patron Saint of a number of towns in Sicily, and of other places in Europe, St. Agatha is (for obvious reasons)  Patron of breast cancer sufferers. She is also invoked for protection against fire (there is a legend that the veil covering her tomb held back the lava from eruptions of Mount Etna on a number of occasions. She is also Patron of bellringers - possibly because of the use of bells as fire alarms.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Email your MP

I have just finished sending an email to my MP, further urging them to oppose the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

I strongly urge you to do the same: you can find advice on what to say on the Coalition for Marriage website, and also in an excellent post by Protect the Pope.

You can find the name and contact details of your MP on the aptly named website.

Hopefully this will continue to emphasise the weight of public opinion expressed through letters from our Bishops and others, and through the postcards we all hopefully sent to our MP's last week.

The consequences of this bill are widespread and could affect many aspects of the society we live in, including our religious freedom and the duties of a number of professions, including my own of teaching.

Please make your voice heard, and please continue to pray about this issue.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

What Cameron Thinks of Your Mandate


It is becoming clear that David Cameron's election promises included an assurance that he had no plans to redefine marriage. So much for the public's mandate, then!

The Coalition for Marriage have an excellent summary of the story, and Fr. Tim, Fr. Ray Blake and Mulier Fortis have also posted on this topic.

Here is yet another reminder from Protect the Pope of some of the potential consequences of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.

Please Substitute the phrase 'Prime Minister' for 'Lawyer' in the following

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